We live in a world full of various human beings, different kind of people, a world that is changing rapidly, a world full of new technologies and opportunities but also challenges. And somewhere it’s you, it’s me, it’s us, standing there. However, if we are not seen, not heard, not known, it will be difficult to move forward in our careers and on our path.
There are studies such as the one from IBM that show
10% of (IBM's) career opportunities depend on performance/quality of work
30% on the impression someone makes,
and 60% on the person's level of recognition.
Visibility and exposure – “Do they know you?” - determines 90 percent of whether someone gets ahead in their career. This lets us draw the conclusion that all your brilliant, hard work means nothing for your career – unless people know you and what you do.
However, lots of people especially women face challenges is positioning themselves: They miss the mindset, they feel insecure, they fear failure and are driven by mindfuck.
Often it doesn’t matter which industry we work in; we can compare and learn from other branches. To step in front and perform, let’s just imagine us being or becoming a rockstar and we see how parallel the world is.
Rockstars believe in themselves and have a vision: We have visions, too, goals, we can build our confidence.
They play their own music: We do things we love, we are passionate about, we are good at or even excellent at. Each of us has its strengths, topics we can talk about, content that we can provide.
They step on the stage: Let’s think of life as consisting of different opportunities to step on the stage. They are various stages, social media, salary negotiations, discussion with your boss or team members, panel discussion, online platforms, blogs, newspapers…
Rockstar use instruments: We have various tools – our voice, our facial expressions and gestures or written text.
They sing and play for their audience: We have people we are communicating towards, an audience we can interact with, and start dialogues.
1. Think of Yourself – Who Are You?
You don't have to reinvent yourself – be authentic, authenticity is key. You are the best version of yourself. Don't do things that don't suit you; if you're the quiet type, then you are. Be consistent and limit yourself to essential characteristics.
What do I stand for? Do I have clear opinions and beliefs?
Where do I want to go, what are my goals?
What are my strengths/weaknesses?
What type am I? Loud, expressive, calm, introverted?
Which topic is the one, I do want to position myself in?
2. Plan And Organize Your Moments
Pick your topics and favorite stage, offline or online. With digitalization you can make yourself visible not only in the offline world, but also in the online world – an incredibly vast realm with countless opportunities. However, the offline world is still absolutely important, because:
Personal and unfiltered interaction with other human beings
Analogue communication is richer – voice, facial expressions…
Immediate feedback during personal interaction
If you are faking your persona, you will likely get in trouble keeping appearances up 24/7 – in real life, the show goes on after the shot/picture
There is no photoshop for reality
Of course, we also recommend positioning yourself in the digital world: we live in the 21st century – being present online is a must for almost all of us. If somebody does a Google search on you and nothing shows up – or worse, only content you cannot control and did not authorize – this can raise red flags.
Authenticity during all moments
Authentic communication is central to every positioning and to being your own rockstar. Be yourself, wear what you love, what you feel comfortable in, not what society expects you to wear.
3. Just Do It - Play Your Music, Your Song
Go for it – trust yourself and try – take your instruments.
Have Your own message (have your own song, your own melody!)
Tell your story and what you want to say if you are in a conversation, negotiation, on a panel or writing a blogpost: use the stages you are offered!
Everything needs practice; position yourself regularly and make it a habit.
If you are on Social Media – keep your channels up to date – if you don’t have the time to post every day – don’t do it. Less is more: find the platforms corresponding to your personality and rhythm.
Audience: Your audience will react, will like, dislike, get in contact, interact and start dialoguing with you. Get used that there will always be people who don’t like your melody, your voice or your outfit. Who cares? Don’t be everyone’s darling! If you try to please everyone else – you will sooner or later disappoint the most important person: yourself!
Whoever positions himself and gives interviews, takes part in panels or guest lectures, should be able to articulate himself well. Practice your performance and speaking, posture, facial expressions and gestures – practice makes nearly perfect and no one is born a master!
The important thing to remember is, we all can fail, we all fail and will start over, even rockstars are nervous, loose their voice, don’t have the right key, struggle with wardrobe or technical malfunctions.
Commit: yourself to being your own rockstar; believe in your strengths and follow your vision.
Connect: with yourself, be authentic, connect with the audience, interact, listen, communicate, and start dialogues.
Grow: play our own music again and again, find your favorite song, your main message, your anthem. You fail? You grow.
Positioning and being your own rockstar requires action. It's a process and it doesn't happen overnight. We highly recommend to take your position and be your own rockstar, an inspiration for yourself before you are inspiring others.
A clear positioning creates orientation and clarity for the people around you, for your audience. And there is a further advantage, when you position yourself and you are your own Rockstar: You are focusing on the things that matter, because you automatically leave things out and don’t invest further in things which do not benefit yourself and your positioning.
Good luck and be your own rockstar.
This topic was covered by Aileen Zumstein during a breakout session at Forbes women’ s summit 2019 “writing future codes”. Where she discussed the challenges especially women face stepping on stage.
Picture by Matthias Henschl (Forbesdach) @matthiashenschl_com